Exercising a dog with a bad leg

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Exercising a dog with a bad leg

This is a discussion on Exercising a dog with a bad leg within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello! I'm new to this forum, I have never used a site like this before. My family tried fostering dogs in 2013, and we ended ...

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Old 04-02-2019, 02:34 PM
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Exercising a dog with a bad leg

Hello! I'm new to this forum, I have never used a site like this before.
My family tried fostering dogs in 2013, and we ended up keeping three of the dogs we fostered. Two of these dogs have bum legs. One of them, Casper, is missing the joint in his wrist (his paw is just limp, no pain, just can't use it), and the other, Darby, had a broken leg that healed wrong. He walks with a constant limp, and while he is not in pain, too much activity causes his paw to hurt, and the way he walks on one of his pads causes it to open up and bleed. He can fetch about three times in the yard before he slows down.
Casper is probably about 10-15 lbs overweight, 85 lbs total. He's unpredictable and shocky, and because of this we have never been able to train him how to walk outside of the house (he can't stand being leashed or in a harness). On a good day I can walk him in the back yard, but I'm not sure how long to walk with him because of his leg.
Darby is 65 lbs, and he is probably also about 10 or 15 lbs overweight. He walks on a leash alright but walking on pavement for too long can cause his pad on his paw to start bleeding again (he walks on it awkwardly because of the limp).
We have cut all our dogs back on food, giving them all the suggested amount on the bag (dry food). I break their treats apart, although other family members in the house don't. My mom also has a bad habit of sharing too many scraps.
I'm basically looking for suggestions on how to walk or exercise these two dogs, since clearly the food part of it alone is not cutting it. I need a way to exercise Casper without walking him outside - I'm not strong enough to force him out of the house or into a harness. I also need ideas for other exercises for Darby that aren't walking or running, since it makes his pad bleed. Any help would be greatly appreciated... I don't want them to be sore when they get older because of their weight!

PS Casper is 5 1/2 years old, Darby is 5.
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:03 PM
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Counter condition your dog to his harness and/or leash walking

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Originally Posted by Roxironi View Post

Casper is probably about 10-15 lbs overweight, 85 lbs total. He's unpredictable and shocky, and because of this we have never been able to train him how to walk outside of the house (he can't stand being leashed or in a harness). On a good day I can walk him in the back yard, but I'm not sure how long to walk with him because of his leg.
I need a way to exercise Casper without walking him outside - I'm not strong enough to force him out of the house or into a harness. .
Welcome to our great forum! I am glad you are here. I hope we can help you with your dog challenges.

First, have you talked with your vet about what types of exercise or lengths of time that Casper could handle safely? If not, I would suggest starting there.

If your biggest hurdle about walking Capser is his refusal of wearing a harness or walking on a leash, I can certainly help you with that!

Good ole counter conditioning can pretty easily fix that.

You would basically start by just showing him a harness or leash and just reward him (yummy food/ happy talk)for looking at it. Get the association going that seeing the harness= great things!

Then teach him "touch" where you ask him to put his nose to the harness. Then pay! (reward)

Then ask him to touch leash. Then pay! Do this over and over again until he looks happy to see the leash/harness.

Then I would put it on him to eat all his meals. Make it a happy ritual. Say "Casper, harness time!" happily. As soon as his harness is on, then feed him. Take it off when the meal is done. Again- harness= happy food meal time.

Then put it on him randomly while you guys hang out and snuggle or do tricks, or whatever you guys do together happily.

Then try walking him in his new happy leash/harness combo. See how it goes. Bring TONS of yummy treats and pay, pay, pay as you walk.

Use patience as you counter condition him to a new way of looking at his harness/leash walking.

Again....you want Casper to think: Walking with harness = fun times and food!!
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:14 PM
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It's great that you're seeking ideas to help your dogs. They do need to keep up on exercise and they do need to lose weight.

Giving them measured proportions for their ideal size is important. It also helps to feed them at least a few hours before bed so that they are still moving around and hopefully burning off some of the calories before sleeping. Do whatever you can to convince your other family members that the dogs need to be a good weight. Even on the slim side. Dogs that have aches and pains suffer more from having extra weight. Watch a slim dog walk and then look at a fat dog walking. It's clear how much easier it is for the dog that is the proper weight. And if you factor in a missing joint and a broken leg that didn't heal properly, then it's that much harder on them. And it doesn't need to be.

For the dog that gets bleeding paws. Have you tried dog boots? Ending up with bloody paws is pretty bad so you think of ways to protect his paws so they don't get scrapped up and bleed.

Have you asked your vet for ideas on how to help your dogs lose weight and get more exercise?
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Old 04-03-2019, 11:09 AM
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The amount they say on the dog food bag is usually way more than what a dog that is inactive should have. It is obviously too much if your dogs are that much overweight. I would cut them back a little bit of a time. You can throw some non fat foods like green beans in with there food to give them more bulk without the calories. It is hard to take weight off even an active dog, takes a long time but worth it.
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